We know how it can be worrying when your cat stops eating, and how it can be hard to determine if you should rush them to the vet or not. In this blog, our Los Angeles County vets list some potential reasons why your cat may not be eating and when you should take them to the emergency vet.
Why Is My Cat Not Eating?
Cats are legendary for being picky eaters! Lots of cat owners know what it is like to scan the pet food isles of the store in search of a new, interesting brand of cat food their kitty will love.
However, if your feline friend doesn't eat for more than 24 hours, they may have an underlying health condition.
Kidney disease is a common condition among senior cats and can make your furry friend feel nauseous and in turn, lead them to refuse their food. Other symptoms are drinking lots more water than usual and frequent urination.
There are two common types of kidney disease in cats. Your vet will be able to determine which one your cat has and treat it accordingly. If your elderly cat (over 7 years of age) has stopped eating or is exhibiting other symptoms of kidney disease, call your vet as quickly as possible to arrange an appointment.
Dental Health Problems
Dental issues in pets often lead to severe mouth pain, resulting in a refusal to eat. An injury to your cat's mouth caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay, or loose or broken teeth can all cause significant pain.
If you suspect your cat is suffering from pain in their mouth, take them to your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can perform a thorough examination and dental cleaning of your cat’s teeth and diagnose any issues that may be causing pain.
Just as with humans, gastrointestinal (GI) problems can cause nausea in cats, and as a result lead to a lack of appetite. Cats that have GI problems will frequently (but not always) exhibit other symptoms like weight loss, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Common GI issues in cats include:
- Urinary obstruction
- Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
- A foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract
It’s time to see your vet if you notice your cat experiencing weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting in addition to losing their appetite.
Gastrointestinal issues, such as the ones detailed above, are serious and might require emergency care. It's important for your cat's health to have these conditions diagnosed early, so treatment can start as quickly as possible.
Other Potential Reasons
Cats may refuse to eat for a number of reasons not directly related to their overall physical health, including:
- A shift in normal routines
- New food
- Motion sickness due to travel
- Recent vaccinations
These problems should only make your cat skip a maximum of two meals - nothing more. If your kitty refuses to eat any longer than this, you should take them to the vet.
If my cat refuses to eat, when should I visit a vet?
If your kitty has refused to eat more than a meal or two or is displaying any concerning symptoms or behaviors, call your vet immediately, or bring them to the emergency veterinary clinic closest to you. Call ahead if possible.
Cats can become seriously ill quickly, making early diagnosis and treatment critical to your cat's long-term health.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.